HIGH AND LOW-RANKING BODYGUARDS OF HITTITES ACCORDING TO THE „INSTRUCTION FOR THE ROYAL BODYGUARD (LÚ.MEŠ MEŠEDI)“
There were different positions in the Hittite kingdom. We find high and low-ranking officials in the documents. Most of the country officials had a fairly close relationship with the King and were directly accountable to him. Their relationship with the King was regulated by treaties or instructions reflecting their official duties and responsibilities. In this artickle we would like to point out bodyguards accirdung to the "Instruction for the royal bodyguard" (LÚ.MEŠMEŠEDI). They were in charge of the administration of the entire royal court, and they were responsible not only for royal protection, but also had other duties. The Chief of the bodyguards (GAL MEŠEDI), the Commander-of-Ten of the bodyguards (UGULA 10 MEŠEDI) and the ordinary bodyguards (LÚMEŠEDI) played a significant role at the palace. Especially noteworthy is the rank of the Chief of the bodyguards (GAL MEŠEDI), which was considered an honor at the palace and appears to have existed since the early days of the Hittite state. We do not have a Hittite word corresponding to this term. It was one of the higher ranks after the King, Queen and Crown Prince. He had administrative, military, cult-ritual roles. This position was held mostly by the brothers or family members of the King. Prior to the enthronement, the great kings, such as Muwatalli I, Muršili II, Hattušili III, and Tudḫaliya IV, held the role of the Chief of the bodyguards.
We may conclude that the security organization was rather high with the Hittites, which is expressed in the protection of the King within or outside the palace, as well as in the regular protection of the inner and outer perimeter of the palace, etc. Bodyguards of high-rank had an important role in the king’s administration, and their tasks, as is evident from other sources, were not only administrative, but also military and religious. Thus, the bodyguards were occupying a fairly significant position at the palace. The Chief of the bodyguards (GAL MEŠEDI) was more influential than any other high-ranking official and therefore probably had more privileges.
The article presents the hierarchy of guards according to the "Instruction for the royal bodyguard" (LÚ.MEŠMEŠEDI), their rights and responsibilities, functions, rules and prohibitions established for them. We also present an approximate scheme. This is a reconstruction attempt where the approximate arrangement of high and low ranking persons in relation to the carriage (in front or behind the carriage, on the right or the left side of the carriage) is given.
Keywords: Assyriology, Hittite, Instruction, MEŠEDI, royal bodyguard.